Protect America's Waterways

What's at risk? More than half of America’s streams

Over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to put Clean Water Act protections in legal limbo, arguing that the law doesn’t cover the smaller streams and wetlands that feed and clean America’s great waters.

Right now, nearly 60 percent of America’s streams and 20 million of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development, putting the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk. Polluters can dump into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls, and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do a thing about it.

On the verge of the biggest clean water victory in decades

This fall, the Obama administration took first steps to close the Clean Water Act loopholes and protect our waters. This is big news—we’re closer than ever to victory. But Big Ag and developers will be using all their power and resources to bring this progress to a standstill. To get these critical protections over the finish line, we’ll need to show President Obama that the American public overwhelmingly supports clean water.

Our plan to defend our rivers and streams

It is clear that if polluters win, our rivers and streams lose. And we know that we can’t compete with their lobbyists dollar for dollar. But the public is with us—and if we can prove that to our elected officials, we can win. That's why we’re bringing together Americans from all walks of life to protect our waterways. From farmers to scientists, from local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean. 

Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the nation, educating Americans about what’s at stake. So far, we've delivered more than 100,000 public comments in support of clean water.

But if we’re going to drown out the opposition and convince President Obama and the EPA to finalize a rule and protect our waters, we can’t let the momentum falter. Right now, we need everyone who cares about America’s waterways to get involved.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment America Research and Policy Center

Are America’s beaches safe for swimming?

With summer in full swing, water pollution can close beaches or put swimmers' health at risk. Last year, bacteria levels at 385 coastal and Great Lakes beaches indicated that the water was potentially unsafe for swimming on at least one out of every four days tested, according to the new report Safe for Swimming? by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. The report comes as Congress is set to vote Friday on a major spending bill that includes an additional $11 billion for water infrastructure.

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

New Dirty Water Rule puts America’s drinking water and rivers at risk

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule that leaves half the nation’s wetlands and thousands of streams -- which help provide millions of Americans with drinking water -- without the federal protection of the Clean Water Act.

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

102 groups urge EPA to rein in meat and poultry processing plant pollution

Environment America Research & Policy Center is submitting comments on behalf of 102 organizations today, urging the Environmental Protection Agency to dramatically reduce the massive levels of pollution dumped by agribusiness facilities into America’s waterways. The comments are in response to the agency’s decision not to update permit standards for meat and poultry plants -- despite the Clean Water Act’s requirement to do so.

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News Release | Environment America

Statement: Dual EPA rollbacks weaken clean water protections against toxic coal waste

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released two proposals today to roll back clean water protections against waste from coal-fired power plants. The first proposal would overhaul wastewater rules, drastically weakening safeguards that prevent utilities from discharging toxic pollutants like arsenic, lead and mercury into America’s waterways. The second proposal would significantly extend closure dates for coal ash disposal sites, allowing utilities to continue storing toxic coal debris in ponds that can leak or overflow, for decades.

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News Release | Environment America Research and Policy Center

New “Voices for Clean Water” website highlights wide array of Americans speaking out against pollution threats

In response to a growing set of pollution threats and to mark today’s 47th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Environment America Research and Policy Center and the Clean Water for All coalition have launched  a new website -- “Voices for Clean Water” -- that  features photos and testimonials from a wide array of individuals from across America. They included business owners, faith leaders, public health experts and people who love to swim, hike, kayak or just drink clean water.

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